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Digital DNA: Technology, social cohesion and peace advocacy

We are delighted to host a session on “Technology, social cohesion and peace advocacy” during Digital DNA. In this digital age, technology is altering how we engage with the world, offering new avenues for social change. In this session we will explore how technology can help to foster contact and collaboration between groups in conflict settings and to create new ways for people to influence or take action in their community to promote peaceful attitudes.

Panellists:

Louisa Worladge – Global Lead, Digital, Partnerships and Innovation, British Council

Stephen Shashoua – Founder, Plan C: Culture and Cohesion

Hen Norton – Director and Film Producer

Louise Guido – CEO, M4 Global Partners

Angela Baker – Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Qualcomm Wireless Re

Chaired by Eva Grosman – CEO, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and Conor Houston, Programme Director, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building

 

Digital DNA, Tech for Good Studio | Tuesday, 6 June | 3pm – 3.50pm

Third sector passes available at: https://digitaldna17.eventbrite.co.uk?discount=VSC

More information about Digital DNA: www.digitaldna.org.uk

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A Giant’s Cause: Solutions for Brexit | 11 May | QUB

The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union remains open and one of the options floated has been for the UK to join the European Economic Area (EEA) on the EFTA side.

The EEA extends the EU’s Single Market to three EFTA countries: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. These countries are simultaneously members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). They are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, but to that of the EFTA Court. While Prime Minister Theresa May has written that the UK does not seek to remain part of the Single Market, the UK Government’s position on the ‘fourth freedom,’ the free movement of persons, has softened.

Join QPol at Queen’s as they welcome Professor Carl Baudenbacher, President of the EFTA Court, who will explore whether the EEA model, or a bespoke variation of it, would be a suitable way forward for the UK, and ensure the harmony and soft-border between the isles’ two countries.

Queen’s University Belfast, Thursday 11 May 2017, 1730-1900

Registration for the event at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-giants-cause-solutions-for-brexit-with-professor-carl-baudenbacher-tickets-33991652949

 

 

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ETA disarmament: CDPB’s Director Chris Maccabe among the International Verification Commission members

The International Verification Commission (IVC) was established in 2011 to verify Euskadi Ta Askatasuna’s (ETA) declaration of a definitive end of violence.

The Commission members include Chris Maccabe, former Political Director of the Northern Ireland Office and CDPB’s Director; Ronald Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence and Deputy Defence Minister of South Africa; Ram Manikkalingam, Chairman of the IVC. Director of Dialogue Advisory Group and Professor at Amsterdam University, and former Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka for negotiations with the Tamil Tigers; Satish Nambiar, former Deputy Chief of the Indian Army and former Commander and Head of Mission of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and 1993; Fleur Ravensbergen, Assistant Director of Dialogue Advisory Group and Aracelly Santana, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of Mission, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UMIN) and former Director, Americas Office in the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.

For the past six years, the Commission, together with Basque institutions and Basque civil society, has worked towards achieving an orderly end of violence. Since its establishment, the Commission has verified that ETA has fulfilled its commitment to cease all violent actions. In January 2014, the Commission verified that ETA had put beyond operational use a specified quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives. This was the first step towards ETA’s disarmament

On 27 March and 6 April 2017, respectively, the Navarre and Basque parliaments resolved that the Commission “continue to use its good offices to achieve” the “unilateral, complete, definitive and verified” disarmament of ETA

In pursuance of that objective, today the Commission received, from Jean-Noël Etcheverry, a representative of Basque civil society, information regarding the location of ETA’s weapons, ammunition and explosives. This information was immediately conveyed to the relevant French authorities, who will now secure and collect ETA’s arsenal. The Commission will not be involved in this stage. The Commission believes that this step constitutes the disarmament of ETA.

The handover of information by civil society representatives took place in the City Hall of Bayonne at the invitation and in the presence of the Mayor of Bayonne Jean-René Etchegaray. It was also witnessed by His Grace Matteo Zuppi, the Archbishop of Bologna, and the Reverend Harold Good, former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland.

Since 2011 the Commission has worked closely with Basque political and social actors, including the Basque Government, political parties, trade unions, the business confederation and the Basque Catholic Church. The Commission would also like to thank the President of the Basque Country, Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, for his support over these years. The Commission is grateful for all of their assistance and cooperation in its task of verifying the ceasefire and the end of violence.

The Commission trusts that, with the support of all relevant actors, this historic step will help consolidate peace and coexistence in Basque society.

 

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Music Unite Culture Night

An eclectic mix of musicians gathered at the Loughside Community Centre, on the Shore Road in North Belfast to entertain an audience of over 400 people with Music Unite’s night of culture. The event was the culmination of a yearlong project facilitated by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, project managed by Nigel Kells in association with Donal Scullion and band alongside Creative Director Leonie McDonagh of Ponydance productions.

The night of culture brought together people from different cultures and backgrounds from across Northern Ireland to celebrate our indigenous cultural traditions, the diversity of our society and the uniting power of music.

The evening started off with a variety of traditional bands from the iconic Blood & Thunder, to melody flute, then from accordion band to the melodic sound of fifes and drums and finishing the first half with the traditional solo Scottish piper much to the delight of the crowd.

We then moved to the collaboration stage of the performance and first up this year we brought together the flutes and Drums of North Belfast’s own, ‘Pride of the Shore Flute Band’ playing a few tunes of their own to warm the crowd up, then joining forces with Donal Scullion and his Rock band, to play the Beatles classic ‘Hey Jude’.

The combination of crisp Blood and Thunder marching band flute with the iconic Rock sound of electric guitar, subtlety accompanied by a combination of rock drum kit and marching side drum kicked the second half of the night off in spectacular fashion. 

Following that, the far travelled Cormeen Rising Sons of William, all the way from Armagh, with 3 pieces of collaboration alongside Donal Scullion and his Rock band. They played Jonny Cash’s Ring of Fire, followed by Waltzing Matilda & to top it off, a unique medley of theme tunes from Movie classics, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Star Wars! All while Cormeen’s Colour Party performed a marching display for the crowd, which they had created with our Creative Director Leonie McDonagh at their hall in Armagh.

This event following on from last year’s project was another major success, celebrating diversity and using the power of music to unite. Described by one band member as ‘the best craic the band have had in years!’

Music Unite project received support from The Executive Office Good Relations Grant.

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Statement from Lord Alderdice on the death of Martin McGuinness

Statement from Lord Alderdice on the death of Martin McGuinness

Speaking of his sadness on hearing of the death of Martin McGuinness and sending his condolences to his family circle, John, Lord Alderdice described him as “a remarkable leader, an excellent colleague, and ultimately an essential peacemaker.”

Lord Alderdice said:

“Only a few who occupy positions of leadership are truly transformational leaders, but Martin McGuinness was one such person.  I knew him well through the period of negotiations, then during the time when I was involved with the Assembly, after that while we tried to address the complex process of security normalization and later in taking the message of hope from Northern Ireland to other places, particularly Iraq. He was the same person in each of these circumstances.  He was deeply thoughtful and insightful and when he made an agreement, he stuck to it. He had the courage to take risks, as a leader must if he or she is to make a real difference. Ultimately his journey led him to give up violence and become the essential peacemaker in Ireland and an inspiration to many others well beyond the island home to which he was so devoted.  May his family circle be comforted in their grief and may Martin rest in peace.”

Chief Anne Richardson

Healing the wounds of Britain’s relationship with the First Americans

Lord Alderdice invites you to the talk

Healing the wounds of Britain’s relationship with the First Americans

with Chief Anne Richardson

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 from 6.30pm to 8pm

Committee Room 1, House of Lords, London SW1A 0AA

Please register at www.getinvited.to/cdpb/chiefanne

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Chief Anne Richardson is the first woman to be elected to lead her Tribe since 1705 and is a fourth generation Chief in her family. She has travelled widely internationally and has served on numerous boards including, the Native American Council of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Native American Committee of the Episcopal Diocese, Indian Ministries of North America, and the Virginia State Advisory Council for the U.S Commission on Civil Rights. She was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor to their National Advisory Council on Indian and Native American Programs and was for two years elected National Chairwoman of the Council. She continues to serve as a member.

Chief Richardson will be speaking about the situation of Native Americans in the USA today and on the role that repairing the historic relationship with Britain can play in addressing their concerns.

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Please allow 20 minutes to get through security.

 

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Opinion: A ‘Brexit Convention’ for Northern Ireland

We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.”
Preamble to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement 1998

There is one certainty that is clear in the opening weeks of 2017: we are in uncertain times. Much of the current commentary and discourse is about the RHI scandal, who was responsible, who was to blame. There are serious issues and questions unresolved and in whatever talks process that will emerge, a lot of focus will be on getting answers.

Politicians are elected to represent their community and fulfil their electoral mandate. This must be respected and it will be for the politicians to negotiate and decide how best to create the next talks process.

As Einstein observed “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results”. Therefore, a central focus of these talks must include relationship building. This requires providing space to politicians and support to find new ways of communicating and relating to each other. Without this, the Assembly and Executive will fail to function and lack of trust will make negotiations and delivering for citizens practically impossible.

It is also a time for our society, and each of us individually, not to react but to proactively think about how we all work together to solve the challenges that affect us all.

In a matter of weeks, the UK Prime Minister will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the Brexit negotiations will begin. The timetable of an NI Assembly election/ talks process will have no bearing on this.

A serious problem arises: Northern Ireland has no Brexit plan. Not only do we not have a plan, it is likely that we may not have a government to advocate on our behalf. The political talks between the NI parties will be about saving the institutions, not about how to establish the best outcome for Northern Ireland in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. The implications of Brexit are some of the most important policy and constitutional issues Northern Ireland has to face.

We need a space for informed thinking, debate and solutions to ensure the best outcome for all the people of Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.

So what can be practically done against the backdrop of the current political crisis?

I propose that a “Brexit Convention” is immediately established. This Convention would be a ‘collective’ of key influencers from across business, civic, community, voluntary, trade union, student, agriculture, media and many others. This group should be as widely representative of society in NI as possible and include new voices, emerging leaders and the most marginalised in our community.

The Convention would represent a genuine collaborative relationship between the public, private and community sectors and provide expertise and assistance during this time of crisis.

It would be tasked to “establish recommendations to achieve the best outcome for NI in the upcoming Brexit negotiations”. It could have support of British & Irish Governments and report to the NI political parties.

Part of this process could involve hosting “Town Hall” style meetings which allow the public to engage with ideas and be part of the process. This will lead to creative thinking, innovative perspectives, expertise, transparency and accountability.

image1 (2)This format could provide a model that might be used to assist with the political negotiations and to examine other issues in the future, for example around mental health or an ambitious economic plan, etc.

In the longer term, consideration should be given to establishing a think tank with local, national and international expertise to develop innovative policy and strategic thinking. Northern Ireland needs to connect to a much bigger global reality.

It is a time for us to collectively step up to the challenges we face. This proposal won’t resolve everything, but if we utilise the best of our abilities, our creative spirit, call upon our resilience and summon our courage, we can start to find solutions in a meaningful way. This will inspire us to continue on our journey to grow a united community and build a prosperous, peaceful future for all.”

Conor Houston, Programme Director, CDPB

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Lord Alderdice honoured for Excellence in Promoting Peace & Collaboration by Global Thinkers Forum

Lord Alderdice to be presented with a Special Award for Excellence in Promoting Peace & Collaboration by Global Thinkers Forum – the global platform promoting accountable leadership, women’s empowerment and youth development.

Among other Honourees are the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for Excellence in Positive Change; Alwaleed Philanthropies and HH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal who donated his entire fortune to philanthropy, will be recognised with a Special Award for Excellence in Contribution to Humanity, world-acclaimed Turkish author Elif Şafak, for Excellence in Promoting Gender Equality, One Heart World-Wide, an organisation that helps reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in rural areas for their Excellence in Women’s Empowerment.

“In the 21st century, philanthropy earns a strategic dimension. At the core of this transformation is the will to hold business leaders and businesses more accountable, expand, and nurture the notion of ethical leadership. We live in a complex era; accountable leadership is being challenged every day. We need role models in giving, empowering, promoting peace, in actively effecting positive change. We are very proud of the exceptional Honourees lineup, the work of which our organisation is celebrating this year”, says Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO, Global Thinkers Forum.

The 4th Awards for Excellence Gala, celebrating the work of outstanding leaders, individuals and organisations will be hosted by international broadcaster Stephen Cole and a live concert will be conducted by famous Belgian Maestro Sir Dirk Brossé.

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Belfast marks Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

A panel of expert speakers outlined the challenges and opportunities for Northern Ireland’s female entrepreneurs at an event in Belfast today to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

The event, in conjunction with the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, was hosted at the Ulster Bank headquarters in Donegal Square East and included student, entrepreneurs, early stage businesses and community representatives from across Northern Ireland. Speakers included Lord Alderdice (CDPB Chairman), Cathy Martin (WED Ambassador for Ireland and founder of CMPR) and Brenda McLaughlin CBE (NI Trustee on the National Board of NSPCC)

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), the world’s largest entrepreneurial and financial empowerment initiative, recently appointed country ambassadors to oversee and coordinate activities in over 144 countries worldwide, supporting, empowering, and celebrating women entrepreneurs on every continent. 51% of the UK population is female, yet just over 20% of SME are majority female led. If women started businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an 150,000 extra start-ups each year in the UK

Speaking at the event, Karen Lawther, Chair of Focused Women, Ulster Bank’s internal network  to support women in business, said: “Supporting female entrepreneurship is core to what we do as a bank, and is an important part of building a dynamic economy and business culture. We take pride in supporting initiatives like this which offer people the chance to learn, connect and gain confidence from some truly inspiring speakers.”

Addressing a Women’s Enterprise Day event at the Ulster Bank Headquarters in Belfast today, Lord Alderdice, Chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, said:

“It is a sign that things are getting better that no-one finds it remarkable for us to have women as three of the four First Ministers in the United Kingdom, but we should take this as an encouragement of what is possible, rather than as a sign of achievement.  While in some areas of work life the particular contributions of women, and the proper regard for women as equal citizens is increasingly recognised, other areas of the economy still deny themselves the business advantage that women’s creativity brings to the top table. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day gives us a chance to remind ourselves and others of the exciting successes of women as entrepreneurs in social, economic and public life.”

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Lord Alderdice to address RISING Global Peace Forum

02 People feel increasingly fearful and insecure in a world where old certainties have disappeared, societies are less stable and the rapid and unpredictable change that is exciting for some is now frightening for many. Using his professional background as a psychiatrist and his experience in dealing with conflict and especially violence in various parts of the world, Lord Alderdice will provide a somewhat controversial analysis of why he believes the global community is spinning down into chaotic violence, and how we need to radically change our approach if we are to begin to provide a sense of security for our people.

For more information visit www.rising.org